The word “Leprosy” terrified people in biblical times. It is hard for us to imagine the many thousands of people infected by various skin diseases in Judea back then including “real leprosy”. Even today, the word strikes fear in many people’s minds. We have in the readings today, two instances of cures of this disease. The first is of Naaman the Syrian who expresses his gratitude to the God of Israel. In the Gospel we have the cure of ten lepers, one of them a Samaritan. The Samaritans & the Jews despised each other but evidentially this illness united these hapless & lonely individuals. It is said that in a flood animals who are natural enemies of each other will stand by side on dry ground as the water level rises. Crisis makes them allies. The same thing happened here.
All ten had their skin cured by Jesus, but only one of them, the Samaritan, was cured in his soul because the gift of healing and his gratitude for it brought him back to Jesus to express thanks. He then came to know Jesus not only as healer but as Saviour.
There is a great deal of conversation these days about rights and entitlements. We feel that we have a right to all kinds of blessings. “Don’t I have a right to be happy?”, “Don’t I have a right to long life?” “Don’t I have a right to good health?” “Don’t I have a right to some peace?” Are these rights or are they gifts and blessings?
We can easily lose a sense of gratitude for the blessings we have been given. We come to church with our needs and burdens, as we should, but to forget to thank the Lord for the blessings we have received in our live. Do we notice the blessings of God in our everyday life?